Groups Blast Senate Confirmation of Exxon CEO as U.S. Secretary of State

By Dan Bacher | February 1, 2017 |

The U.S. Senate just voted to confirm former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State by a 56 to 43 vote.
During the 2016 election, ExxonMobil contributed over $350,000 to 39 Senators.
The three Democrats who voted for Tillerson are Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.VA) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). One independent, Angus King (I-ME), also voted for confirmation. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) didn't vote.
Environmental groups responded quickly by slamming the vote as delivering U.S. foreign policy over to Big Oil.
“U.S. foreign policy is now being run by oil industry,” said the Center for Biological Diversity in a tweet. “Sad. Scary.”
In response to the vote, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement: 
"Make no mistake, just like Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson has no mandate. He was confirmed with substantially less support than any other Secretary of State in history. It’s unconscionable that the Senate confirmed an oil executive to be America’s ambassador to the world.  And yet, that’s exactly what they have done. Perhaps it’s no surprise, since so many of those voting in favor of Rex Tillerson have benefitted from Exxon’s political contributions over the years. 
“The Sierra Club is committed to fighting for our families, our communities, and our environment, and we will challenge any environmentally destructive policy Donald Trump or Rex Tillerson throw our way.”  
Oil Change International responded to the confirmation in a tweet: “Things are very much NOT fine. We need to Separate Oil and State, not join it at the hip.”
Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International, also released the following statement:
“I, for one, welcome our new fossil fuel overlords. Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State makes it perfectly obvious who the rest of the world, and all of us, are dealing with. America appears clearly today on the world stage as a country that is sadly of, by, and for the oil industry.
“We are of course, much much more. America is a place where citizens value the water and air that the oil industry inevitably pollutes. We are a nation of ranchers and farmers and climate activists and native Americans who have beaten the oil industry before, and we will do so again, now for even bigger stakes.
“Rex Tillerson should know that we will be watching his every move, resisting every attempt to push his oily agenda, and standing up for the health and safety of our communities at every turn. All eyes are now on Russia, where it will be fascinating to see if U.S. sanctions are now lifted, and Exxon’s fortunes thus dramatically improve. We will watch the outcome of the case that accuses Exxon, during his tenure, of human right abuses in Indonesia. We look forward to Secretary Tillerson’s testimony in upcoming climate trials. We particularly look forward to exposing his ongoing denial of the billions of dollars the oil industry receives in taxpayer support every year.
“The divided vote in the Senate is historic, with more than 40 votes against his confirmation. This constitutes more opposition to a Secretary of State nomination than we have seen since at least World War II.
The Senators who voted to confirm Rex Tillerson voted for climate denial and we will make sure the public is aware of that fact. We will demand a Separation of Oil and State.” tweeted: “Today's vote shows that corruption works in Washington. Exxon has spent millions to influence Congress and this is the result.”
The three Democrats who voted for Tillerson are Senator Heidi Heilcamp (D-ND), Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVA) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). One independent, Angus King (I-ME), also voted for confirmation. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) didn't vote.
For a great infographic about Tillerson, go to:
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that President Trump has left the White House on Marine One on “an unannounced trip. The White House has not disclosed destination.”

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